Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

Category: Relationships
Author: Marianne Jacobbi
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by d_burfoot   2022-04-09
I strongly recommend the book Feeling Good by David Burns. I even recommend it to people who are not depressed.


It describes how depression is often caused by cognitive distortions that somehow cause us to believe that our lives aren't worth living. As a simple example, a depressed person might call a friend, but the friend doesn't return the call immediately, and so the depression patient concludes that the friend doesn't actually care. This is a pure hallucination caused by depression; there are 1000s of reasons why the friend might not have responded immediately. Furthermore, even in the unlikely event that the negative conclusion was true, and the friend doesn't care about the patient, that doesn't mean very much. Maybe the friend is actually pretentious, or is trying to climb the social ladder, or is a political zealot who can't tolerate people with different opinions - all reasons why the patient is better off looking for new friends anyway.

by terp4lifechris   2021-12-10

Seems like a couple of things going on here: one, how you are feeling, and two, how to make real friends. First, if you are willing to try reading a "self-help" book to feel better then I would recommend the book Feeling Good by David Burns. He basically identifies simple ways to get passed typical thoughts we all have that cause us to feel bad so we can start feeling better. It helped me a lot when I needed it and I've never really gone back to feeling bad the way I used to. I used to talk myself into feeling bad but now that I'm aware of how I was doing that, I know how to avoid it. If you are not into self-help books then just forget it.

Second, making "real" friends is more complicated because there is no checklist to know if someone fits in the real friend category. Each friend is unique and you kinda have to take them as they are. Think about this, everyone in the world is just trying to figure things out like everyone else. No one but God (you said you're religious) really knows what life is all about--even your parents. The saddest and loneliest person, and the person who seems to have it all together, each one is just doing their best to make it in this world. We are all the same in that way. Knowing that everyone struggles helps me realize that everyone needs "real" friends just as bad as I do.

That leads me to some actions that I take that help me make friends (some friends are closer than others). I try to treat people kindly knowing that they are struggling in the world too. Even people who are annoying or I don't really like that much. I know they have troubles too so I try to be nice, smile, hold the door for them, pick up something they dropped, whatever. When you're kind to other people that way, it can actually make you feel better about yourself as a human being--especially if you are NOT expecting to get anything in return. It doesn't mean these people are going to be your friend. But you would be surprised about one thing. Other people will notice that you are a kind person and most people want to be friends with kind people. Don't you? Also, when you are happy with yourself for being kind, it can actually make you feel better about yourself. People will notice that too, that you are happy with the kind person your are. After that, friendship depends on how much time you spend with each other talking, eating meals, playing games, whatever. If you don't spend time doing things together, it is not possible to become real friends. The more time you spend together doing things, the better friends you will be.

I'm glad you wrote this. Obviously you are not suffering alone. We are all just trying to make it in this world. It's nice that we can help each other out a little bit.

by ZaFish   2021-12-10

For me, this one did the trick or at least made me understand

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy


by CleanLiving_1   2021-12-10

This works for me. Even thinking of it without picking it up works. But it requires doing the exercises, not just reading it. Those exercises can be difficult, but worth it.

It’s fairly old school, but there is an office down the street shared by a few youthful therapists. That book is prominently displayed on the shelf in the waiting room.


by scns   2020-09-13
Maybe one of these books could help him: https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380...


The first one helped me understand how the mind influences the emotions, haven't read the second.

by supr_strudl   2020-01-22
I’m currently reading Feeling Good (https://www.amazon.com/dp/0380810336). It was recommended by someone here on HN. I’m half way through and I’d dare to say it’s already changing my life for the better.
by musicandstuffyo   2019-11-17

Look into CBT instead of meds man. Buy this book, do the exercises : https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336

No shit, it's helped me a lot in life. You're probably thinking exactly what I thought ' Man.. I ain't on some self help book shit, wtf is this? You think a book can help me? I've been tryna fix this forever. Please!'

Trust me dude. I've struggled with all sorts over the years and most of the time what it comes down to is the way you think about things and your thought processes. Your mind automatically thinks one way - negatively. It avoids things rather than facing them which reinforces the things you're trying to avoid. So much shit - the mind is fucking crazy man, scarily so. When it starts working against you instead of with you it can be one of the worst things in the world, believe.

The good news is that you can train your mind and re-wire the brain, derail the usual thought processes and build new tracks that leads to normalville, sometimes even happyville.

I know it sound ridiculous or like useless self-helpy bullshit, but trust me man, CBT. Get the book, do the exercises, however silly they may seem. Rewire your shit.

by BrianW1983   2019-11-17

There are a lot of good recommendations here.

Have you read this classic CBT book? You can get it from a library today while you wait for treatment:


by jude770   2019-11-17

DO NOT KILL YOURSELF. Whatever misery you're experiencing is temporary. Suicide is permanent. Let God love you right now. Stay in touch with this community. Can you talk to a friend? A pastor?

Also, this book may help:


by UniqueID2   2019-11-17

If you are interested in self help, give Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns a shot.

My wife deals with high anxiety and depression and the tools in this book helps her and helps me understand how she is feeling. Its even allowed me to help identify the thought patterns she falls into, which allows me to help her by pointing them out and suggesting she adjust her thought process. I would suggest your husband read it as well.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

by Justwhatimthinking   2019-11-17

I can not recommend this one enough. Really. https://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336

by Stage4Lumbago   2019-11-17

Is this the Feeling Good book you’re referring to? I keep seeing it mentioned all over and want to buy it, just want to make sure I’m getting the right one first.

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy https://www.amazon.com/dp/0380810336/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_-J0nDbH5BQWE2

by BrianW1983   2019-08-24

Try building some self-esteem. Read this book:


by BrianW1983   2019-08-24

Read this classic book:


by BrianW1983   2019-08-24

Read this classic self-help book.


by BrianW1983   2019-07-21

Tell her that whatever problem she's having, "this too, shall pass."

And buy her this book or get it at the library for her:


by BrianW1983   2019-07-21

First of all, don't try to kill yourself. Repeat to yourself that "this too, shall pass." You will feel better, it's only a matter of time. Keep focusing on your studies.

Try do to these 5 things every day. Your depression get much better within 4 weeks and you can do these for the rest of your life.

1.) Read the book "Feeling Good" by Dr. David Burns. You can get it at a library or on Amazon.com. It's a classic self help book that's based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.


2.) Live in the present moment. Train yourself to do this when your mind wanders.

3.) Meditate. You can join a meditation class probably.

4.) Exercise. Try to do 30 minutes 5 days a week. Try something that makes you break a sweat.

5.) Get a religion and pray. Pick what you grew up in or your Grandparents practiced.

Good luck and let me know if I can do anything to help!

by BrianW1983   2019-07-21

First, you have to get comfortable being alone. Being alone all depends on how you look at it.

There are huge benefits to being alone; you can do whatever you want whenever you want, no drama, no one takes your stuff, no one nags, you, etc., etc.

I've researched some scientifically proven life-long strategies you can use to overcome anxiety and depression and you can do these for life.

1.) Read the book "Feeling Good" by Dr. David Burns. It's a classic self-help book. 70% of the people that read it are cured of their depression within a month. Or you can try cognitive behavioral therapy. Read the book first.


2.) Train yourself to live in the present moment. When your mind wanders and you start thinking negative thoughts, bring it back to the present moment.

3.) Pray and practice a religion. It's been scientifically proven that this greatly helps with depression.

4.) Exercise everyday. Do something that you can build a sweat. Maybe take off one day a week but try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

5.) Meditate. Download the free "Insight timer" app or listen YouTube videos of ocean sounds. This helps build gray matter in your brain which helps fight depression.

Do these things everyday and then catch up with me during the summer and let me know how you feel. I guarantee you'll feel a lot better.

by seeker135   2019-07-21

Religion is for people looking for a righteous way to Heaven.

Spirituality is for those who have been to Hell. And do not wish to go beck.

We're a pretty spiritual bunch in SD, overall. Humility's not too hard to find among a bunch of folks who have taken hammers to their own clay feet in front of witnesses.

I heard a joke that could be every alky in the world: A man is walking along a road and he sees a guy on the side of the road, hitting himself in the head with a hammer, crying for a minute, and then hitting himself in the head again, crying, etc. So the passer-by walks over to the man and just as he's about to hit himself in the head with the hammer again, asks, "Why do you do that?" And the man with the hammer looked surprised and said, " 'Cause it feels so good when I stop!".

For anyone who has been daily drinking for any period of time, I recommend checking out a book recommended to me by my therapist. A book that got me off anti-depressants for good in ~nine months. You know the expression 'It felt like a weight had been lifted..."? Yeah, after the first fifty pages, I had that feeling. I learned things I use to this day to prevent depression. It's been in print for over twenty years. I link it this way so people can read the ratings and reviews. Dr. Burns' book has been in print continuously for over twenty years, so it's almost definitely in your local library.

I despise self-help books. IME, there are two types: "Use techniques, methods, tech, local knowledge, whatever - not available to the general public. Profit!" or the alternative, "First, lift yourself up by the hair".

Dr. Burns' book is different. No jargon, no websites, just some honest self-appraisal. It helped me realize I was a good person down on himself for no reason other than habit.

by momentary_mori   2019-07-21

I have fought this dragon, I have some weapons to share. It's a big dragon, and detailed examples help, so this is a long post. For even longer-form content, here are some books I can recommend:

  • The Defining Decade
  • Feeling Good
  • The Inconsequential Child: Overcoming Emotional Neglect
  • 10% Happier

Here are your weapons, in no particular order.

First: understand that you are not broken.

You are having a tough time deciding on a course for yourself. That's okay. You are having a tough time finding joy. That's okay too. You don't think "anything is worth it". That is okay, and it presents you with a goal: to find enough meaning that the effort will be worth it. That goal probably seems far fetched, but it is possible.

I used to think that I was broken. I used to think that the things people had done to me and the circumstances of my life had left irreparable harm. I was wrong, and you are wrong too. You are imbued with the same worthiness as every other human being, no matter what. You are worthy of love and happiness, you are worth respecting, you are worthy of having a supportive group of friends, your opinions are worth hearing. You deserve sincerity and honesty and you are allowed to fuck up.

You're also 20, and it is understandable if you don't know how to do most things, as you have never done most things more than once or twice, if ever. You can learn and improve yourself through effort. You are not broken.

Second: understand the difference between thoughts and actions and feelings.

When we have thoughts, they are not a direct experience of the world, they are a projection of reality into language. Thoughts are "said" by your internal narrator, which is part of you, but not all of you. Deliberate or practiced (i.e. automatic but not reflexive) actions are the physical equivalent of thoughts.

Feelings are a direct experience of your physical body: you feel hungry, you feel tired, you feel a tight muscle in your back, you feel anxious. Babies without language feel these things too. These feelings are part of you, but not all of you, because they are temporary.

If you have never paid attention to your thoughts vs. feelings, that's okay. But self-awareness is a powerful ability, and will make your life a lot easier, and it can be learned.

Third: upward spirals.

Feelings naturally become thoughts and actions. We practice it all our lives. An aching pain becomes "Ow, I should stop.", a feeling of abandonment becomes "They don't want to talk to me". Your mapping is not fixed and can be improved with practice: marathon runners translate their aches into "I should change my form," social people translate their feelings of abandonment into "I miss them, I'll reach out and see if they want to talk".

No feelings->thought translation is "better" or "worse" than any other, there are only "upward" and "downward" spirals. Upward spirals are mappings where negative feelings lead to thoughts and actions that tend to lead to positive feelings; downward spirals are mappings where positive feelings lead to thoughts and actions that tend to lead to negative feelings.

So, you want to learn to work in upward spirals. This means you need to be willing to try difficult things, and risk failure, which is scary but not fatal, and infinitely rewarding. If you are risk-averse, that's okay. You can take as small a risk as you are comfortable with, it will develop a sort of meta-confidence about your ability to handle future risky situations.